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Don Stewart :: Why Was Jesus Called the Son of God?

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Don Stewart

In the New Testament Jesus of Nazareth is referred to as "the Son of God." Jesus was recognized as the Son of God in a number of ways.

God The Father Recognized Jesus

God the Father recognized Jesus as the Son.

He has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, "You are my son; today I have begotten you (Acts 13:33).

The writer to the Hebrews said.

For to which of the angels did he ever say, "You are my son, today I have begotten you?" And again, "I will be a Father to him and he shall be a son to me?" (Hebrews 1:5).

Matthew wrote.

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is my beloved son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to him! (Matthew 17:5).

The Testimony Of The Angel Gabriel

When announcing the upcoming birth of Jesus to Mary the angel Gabriel said.

The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35).

The Confession Of Peter Recognized Jesus

Simon Peter testified that Jesus was the "Son of the living God."

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:17).

The Acknowledgment Of The Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God.

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh (Romans 1:1-3).

The Demons Recognize Jesus

The demons also recognized Jesus as the Son of God.

And suddenly they cried out, saying, 'What have we to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God?' (Matthew 8:29).

The Statements Of Jesus As To His Identity

Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of God.

Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live (John 5:25).

John also records.

But when Jesus heard this, he said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it (John 11:4).

Later Jesus said.

Do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God?' (John 10:36).

Jesus Acknowledged His Identity Under Oath

At His trial, while under oath, Jesus admitted to being the Son of God.

And the high priest answered and said to him, 'I adjure you by the living God that you tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.' Jesus said to him, 'It is as you said' (Matthew 26:63,64).

The Charge Against Him Was Blasphemy

The charge that was brought to Pontius Pilate is that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.

The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God" (John 19:7).

The religious leaders understood that Jesus was claiming equality with God.

Jesus Is The Son Of God The Father

Jesus is the Son of God the Father.

Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love (2 John 3).

Therefore, it is the united testimony of the New Testament that Jesus was the Son of God.

He Is Not The Only One Called "Son Of God"

Although Jesus is called the "Son of God" we also find this term applied to humans and angels. The term "son of God" is applied to the first man Adam, angels, Israel, those who make peace, and Christians.

Adam Was A Son Of God

Adam, the first man, was called the son of God.

The son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God (Luke 3:38).

Israel Was God's Son

The Old Testament says that the nation Israel is God's son.

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son (Hosea 11:1).

Angels Are The Sons Of God

Angels are called "sons of God."

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord (Job 2:1).

Those Who Make Peace Are God's Sons

Those who make peace are called the "sons of God."

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9).

Christians Are Called God's Sons

The designation "sons of God" is also used for Christians.

For they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection (Luke 20:36).

In What Sense Are They God's Son?

If human beings and angels can be called, "sons of God," then, in what sense, if any, is Jesus different?

The answer is that Jesus was the unique "Son of God" in that He possesses the same nature as God. Adam was the "son of God" in the sense that he was created directly by God - he did not have a human father or mother. Angels are the "sons of God" in the sense that they were created by God. Israel was symbolically called God's son as were the peacemakers. Believers are "sons of God" or "children of God" by faith in Christ.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

Jesus Has Been God's Son For All Eternity

Jesus, however, has been God the Son for all eternity. The Bible says.

No one has ever seen God, but God the one and only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known (John 1:18).

Jesus called Himself the Son of God in a unique sense. A man can only be the son of his Father. Jesus was the "Son of the Highest," and the "Son of God."

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David . . . The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:32,35).

The Father sent His Son into the world.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

If the Father of Jesus was God and God alone then Jesus has the same nature as God.

Jesus Is Not The Not Literal Offspring Of God

The title "Son of God" does not indicate Jesus was the literal offspring of His Father. On the contrary, the Bible speaks of Jesus as having existed as God from all eternity.

In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God (John 1:1).

He did not have a beginning as you or I have had. Therefore He is not a "son" in the sense of a literal offspring. He existed before He was born as a babe in Bethlehem.

The Word Son Can Mean "Possessing The Nature Of"

The Bible often uses the word "son" to mean, "possessing the nature of," or, "on the order of." For example we read.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1,2).

The "sons of disobedience" are those who by nature are disobedient not a literal offspring of disobedience. In the Old Testament we read of the "sons of the prophets."

By the word of the LORD one of the sons of the prophets said to his companion, "Strike me with your weapon," but the man refused (1 Kings 20:35).

These were not the literal offspring of the prophets but rather those who of the same order as the prophets. The sons of the prophets were not inferior to the prophets but were rather equal to them.

Jesus Has The Same Nature As God

In the same way Jesus possesses the same nature of God. The Bible says.

For in him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form (Colossians 2:9).

John wrote.

And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life (1 John 5:20).

Therefore He is the Son in the sense that He possesses the same nature as God or is of the same order as God.

Summary

God the Father, the angel Gabriel, His own disciples, the Apostle Paul, and even the demons acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. Although Adam, angels, Israel, peacemakers, and Christians are all called "sons of God" the Scripture designates Jesus as the unique Son of God. He possesses the same nature as the Father - God. However He is not a literal offspring for He has existed for all eternity. The Bible often uses the word "son" in the sense of "possessing the nature of." Jesus is the "Son" of God in this sense- possessing the nature of God. The title "Son" does not, in any way, suggest the Son if inferior to the Father.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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